The hot, hot days of summer in Arizona kept us trailer-bound for months. We were so delighted to have the cooler weather come in October! One day, thinking of the fact that we only had about 18 days left of Arizona residency, we decided to take a road trip. Since the famous (infamous?) Route 66 is in our backyard, we decided to drive a piece, from Kingman to Seligman. Cool enough to take the dogs, we grabbed bottles of water some munchies and took off around noon.
Windows down, doggie ears flapping, we drove through Kingman, which we know well, since it is our shopping area. There weren’t many cars on the road, and we were pleased to set our own pace via cruise-control, and laugh and talk as we drove. Well, Ed drove. I was the navigator, since Ed can’t find his way out of a paper bag. Anyway, the first thing we noticed, besides the beginnings of GREEN weeds instead of BROWN ones was the remnants of the classic Burma Shave signs. It was frustrating as hell at first, since some were missing, and most of the last ones (the ones that actually say “Burma Shave”) were gone. But we were soon distracted by other sights. As we drove through small bumps in the road once called towns, we noticed keeping pace with us, were miles and miles of railroad, still active and busy. Miles of freight cars, empty and full, chugged along through the desert expanses, still providing American transport for the goods we can’t do without. (Or think we can’t!) We were seldom out of sight of the tracks, except when hills and rocks blocked our view. It was kind of mesmerizing to see, miles and miles and miles of track, stretching to infinity.
In Peach Springs, we found the Burma Shave signs again – this time new ones, complete in their sets (usually six signs, five with the humorous verses, and the last with the traditional Burma Shave logo) The original signs were posted starting in 1925, and were purely non-rhyming advertising. But as cars became more dominant in our culture, traffic accidents increased, and signs began to be posted that encouraged traffic safety.
TAKE IT SLOW
LET THE LITTLE
We had great fun with these – and if you want to know more, click the link earlier in the post for the Wikipedia article about the company and the signs.
By the time we reached this point, I was getting a little hungry, so, since we hadn’t come across a single drive-in restaurant, we stopped at a funky café. Definitely a tourist trap, but we ordered milk shakes and fries (one way or the other I wanted to get that 50’s feeling!) and took some quick pictures of the mock-up western town lining the parking lot.
We continued on the road, enjoying the changes in terrain as we climbed higher, and the rock formations and flat-topped mountains. We began to see actual trees – we couldn’t believe our eyes! We are mountain folks (no, I don’t mean as in Deliverance, thank you very much…) having lived in the Sierra Foothills for many years and even spent a few months near the base of Mt. Shasta, in California.
Soon we were on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. Peach Springs is the tribal capital. As with many Indian Reservations, the housing reminded us of military housing, small, ticky-tacky (like the song) and all looking alike. But there were new schools and a sense of increasing well-being. There were sidewalks and curbs, new homes being built, and several businesses that looked prosperous. This is very likely to be because of the creation of Grand Canyon West, and it’s Skywalk, which is owned and operated by the Hualapai Nation. We didn’t go there, as the prices are steep – and Ed has acrophobia!
We rolled into Seligman, and discovered that the piece of 66 we were on would soon end. I had been avidly perusing the flyers and brochures I had picked up in Kingman at the Powerhouse Tourist Center and I decided that my day would not be complete without a touristy side trip. I have been married a long time, so I tricked Ed before the trip began into agreeing that if I wanted to stop somewhere he would do it… so…. we headed up on Highway 40 toward Flagstaff, intending to stop in Williams and taking a look at Bearizona. I know, I know. But sometimes I just can’t help myself!
Bearizona is a drive-through wild animal park – the wild animals not lions and tigers, but bears, Dall sheep, buffalo, wolves and other native species. It is well laid out, with the animal species separated from one another by heavy cattle-guard type crossings between sections. We got there around 4 pm, which was perfect, as it was feeding time. Large slabs of meat and bones were being served to the wolves, table scraps and seeds to the bears, and fresh hay to the sheep and buffalo, which meant prime time viewing for us! The dogs were in heaven, such lovely wild smells! Windows are rolled up in the bear and wolf sections, of course, but we need not have bothered; they were too busy with mealtime to have to hunt down driving humans and canines for munchies!
The white buffalos were wonderful, and the wolves, a family favorite, were so untamed looking, although given the environment and the setting I assume they are used to human interaction. It took about an hour to drive through, and then after that section, there is a walk-through part with the baby animals, birds (Ravens mostly) and a rather silly little petting zoo for the kiddies. There was a baby buffalo though, that had been abandoned by its folks, and that was adorable – had never seen one up close before. Ed, a diehard bird fan, was fascinated by the ravens; in the wild, they shared the feedings of all the animals in the drive-through section, and a few of the injured or tamed birds were caged in the walk-through part. Ed had a long conversation with one raven, and took the picture below.
It was starting to get dark, so we walked the dogs, who were tired from all the excitement and smells, and then headed down the mountain toward Golden Valley and our trailer. I decided to play with my camera as we drove though the twilight, but I will show you those another time, as this post is getting too long!
We had a lovely time, we SO enjoy being together, and having the dogs with us made us happy too, since we could stay out and enjoy ourselves! Hope you have had some fun road trips in your life – I know with the price of gas these days they are harder to plan – but just take off some afternoon and have an adventure of your own!